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Abbott Laboratories: Sharing ‘first practices’

2nd, October 2017

The 3rd Market Logic Executive Roundtable in Chicago in October was hosted by Paul Bould, VP Global Marketing Insights at Abbott Laboratories. Paul was joined by a panel of executives running Market Logic platforms at Hallmark, Kimberly-Clark and Mars Wrigley. Attendees included executives from Abbott, Barilla, Cardinal Health, Comcast, Dart, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, McGraw Hill, Medela and MillerCoors. 

The Abbot Laboratories ‘Insights Hub’ powered by Market Logic: Using a global insights platform to foster a culture of sharing and collaboration

Paul shared an inspiring presentation on the Abbott Insights Hub: a global insights platform that delivers organizational efficiencies with faster, more effective insights mining and learning.

Because the insights organization is an equal partner to marketing at Abbott Laboratories, Paul positions the ‘Insights Hub’ as the “connective tissue for insights across our business”, delivering fast access across corporate marketing and three business lines: nutrition, diabetes care and established pharmaceuticals. You can read about the Abbott ‘Insights Hub’ here

Four key transformations

Anticipating a shifting landscape for insights professionals, Market Logic CEO Kay Iversen shared his vision and argued that AI will change the way marketers work with insights in the following four ways:

  1. “Searching for results” on a platform will be replaced by cognitive delivery of the direct, best “answer to the question”.
  2. “Question answering” will be pre-empted with “insights injection” in the job to be done, so the marketer doesn’t even have to think about the right questions to ask.
  3. Corporate news will transform with “early warning and opportunity detection” services.
  4. We’ll all be spending a lot more time with “artificial coworkers”; cognitive marketing assistants will anticipate marketers’ intentions and offer support to get the job done.

Responding to Kay’s presentation, Paul and the panellists made the following observations on AI:

  • Context is key. One panellist proposed a use case where the machine could understand that “at this time of year, the marketers’ task is to do this, and the relevant types of insights are as follows, and on this basis, here’s the brief”.
  • Time to embed insights is always underestimated. It was pointed out that insights professionals tend to discover an insight, communicate it, and move on, “when we could have invested a year or two to make sure it was understood and applied by the business”. For this reason, the delivery of the right insight at the right time in the marketing process is a big step forward.
  • We need to resolve “the innovator’s dilemma” — where lead customers were already defining topics to hunt for early warning signals across categories (i.e. new start-ups, hires, business models, patent registrations, …) for a broader view of disruptions and market dynamics

Prove it: The importance of proving insights ROI

A key outcome on the conversation of AI was that cognitive technology promises to make the application of insights far more transparent and accountable than ever before. Kay recalled the mantra, “…an insight can only deliver a return to the business when we do something with it.”

Paul then reiterated that insights executives need to be able to prove the ROI of their insights across the organization, to multiple stakeholders — and hard metrics are most effective.

He shared that Abbott Laboratories is a financially driven organization where leaders are required to report their contribution to sales shares and the bottom line every quarter. By contrast, at Hallmark, which is privately owned, key metrics are focused on usage – though metrics to prove insights value would be most welcome.

Paul argued that efficiency savings can be readily identified, referring to speed to insight measures cited in his case study, and cost avoidance outcomes such as reduction in duplication of research projects.

By far the bigger challenge is to measure the impact of insights on effectiveness. For example, “how to measure the overall impact of an insight that is used ubiquitously on sales and market share?” Paul challenged Market Logic and the roundtable community to work together to advance thinking and benchmarks along these lines.

 

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